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Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Journal of Thoracic Disease | Year: 2015

Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are usually considered as tools which can help to analyze cause-effect relationships in complex systems within a big-data framework. On the other hand, health sciences undergo complexity more than any other scientific discipline, and in this field large datasets are seldom available. In this situation, I show how a particular neural network tool, which is able to handle small datasets of experimental or observational data, can help in identifying the main causal factors leading to changes in some variable which summarizes the behaviour of a complex system, for instance the onset of a disease. A detailed description of the neural network tool is given and its application to a specific case study is shown. Recommendations for a correct use of this tool are also supplied. © Journal of Thoracic Disease.

Piccarreta M.,dellUniversita e della Ricerca | Lazzari M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2015

Changes in annual and seasonal temperatures were studied from 18 stations, distributed all over the Basilicata region (southern Italy), for the 1951-2010 period. The analysis is based on high-quality and homogenous daily minimum and maximum temperatures. Both minimum (Tmin) and maximum (Tmax) temperatures increase, especially after 1971. Seasonal results show upward trends in Tmin in winter, spring and summer, whereas they show downward trends in Tmin in autumn, especially in the last normal 1981-2010. Tmax also shows upward trends in spring and summer, whereas it tends to decrease during winter and autumn. The intra-annual extreme temperature range (ETR) index also shows a general positive trend, especially during spring. Eleven indices were used to assess the changes in both the cold and warm tails of the daily temperature distribution. The presence of trends was assessed by means of the Mann-Kendall test. The results reveal a general upward tendency on warm days (TX90), warm nights (TN90) and tropical nights (T20) especially because of an increase in temperature after 1971. This datum is fully confirmed in summer which is the season mainly responsible for this trend. The annual occurrence of summer days (SU) and very warm days (TX99) is weakly increasing. The majority of cold extremes, i.e. very cold nights (TN1), cold days (TX10), cold nights (TN10), frost days (FD) and ice days (ID) showed negative trends, thus confirming the overall warming trend in the Basilicata region. This negative trend could stem from the strong increase of Tmin during winter, spring and summer. © 2015 Royal Meteorological Society.

Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Modugno G.,University of Turin
Atmospheric Science Letters | Year: 2013

At the regional scale, enhanced climatic variability masks the role of external forcings. It has been shown that a consistent attribution of regional temperature behaviour can be achieved just by considering circulation patterns as driving elements. Here we address this question: is the role of external forcings completely hidden in the changes of circulation patterns (eventually induced by them), or is there evidence of a more direct role for these forcings? Performing a fully nonlinear analysis shows that a direct role for anthropogenic forcings can be detected also at this regional scale, while natural forcings do not seem to influence temperature behaviour. © 2013 Royal Meteorological Society.

Whitmarsh D.,University of Portsmouth | Palmieri M.G.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Aquaculture Research | Year: 2011

The growth of aquaculture has been accompanied by controversy over the sustainability of many of the practices used in fish farming. Public attitudes towards aquaculture are unlikely to have been untouched by this, and there seems little doubt that the social acceptability of the industry is shaped by people's perception of its environmental record. What is less clear, however, is how far such perceptions influence consumer behaviour. This paper reports on a survey of public attitudes towards salmon farming in Scotland, which inter alia collected data on the frequency of salmon purchases. The results show that purchasing is influenced by both context and attribute variables, including environmental preferences. Specifically, it was found that increased concern over the environmental performance of the salmon farming industry is associated with a lower propensity to purchase salmon. The findings pose a number of challenges for the aquaculture industry, not least in the area of marketing. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Piccarreta M.,University of Bari | Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Capolongo D.,University of Bari | Lazzari M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2013

Changes in precipitation extremes for the Basilicata region, southern Italy, have been analyzed using data from 55 precipitation stations with complete daily time series during the period 1951-2010. All the series were submitted to quality control assessment and homogenization. To detect possible trends the time series analysis was performed with the Mann-Kendall non-parametric test. The annual and seasonal total precipitation underwent a general downward trend over the period 1951-2010 mainly due to the autumn-winter decrease of precipitation, although the tendency for the last decade is clearly positive. The precipitation intensity shows a general positive trend, mainly due to the upward trend of spring. The dry spell mean has increased throughout the region over 1951-2010, even if a really important opposite trend characterizes the last decade. The wet spell mean has decreased throughout the region from 1951 to 2010, although a strong inversion of tendency has been recorded in the last 10years. Trends in the extreme daily precipitation have indicated a general downward tendency, mainly during the summer season. The analysis of multi-day sequences of moderate to heavy rainfall has indicated a corresponding increase in their frequency and intensity, especially in the last decade. The overall results indicate a present hydroclimatic regime characterized by an increase in total rainfall and precipitation intensity and a small decrease in dry spell lengths. The positive change in precipitation magnitude is due to multi-day extreme precipitation rather than to single-day precipitation. This last observation is very important for its huge hydrological impact on the environment. In Basilicata, the increase in intensity/frequency of multi-days extreme events has led to the growth of severe flooding and landsliding events, not only in autumn and winter, but even in the early spring. © 2013 Royal Meteorological Society.

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